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December 23, 2014

Fed Delays Volcker Rule, Giving Wall Street Another Holiday Gift

“Christmas came early for Wall Street this year. The Federal Reserve on Thursday granted banks an extra year to comply with a key provision of the Volcker Rule, a move that gives financial lobbyists more time to kill the new regulation before it goes into effect.

“The Volcker Rule is a key element of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law that bans banks from engaging in proprietary trading — speculative deals that are designed only to benefit the bank itself, rather than its clients. Thursday’s move by the Fed gives banks an additional year to unwind investments in private equity firms, hedge funds and specialty securities projects. The central bank also said it plans to extend the deadline by another 12 months next year, which would give Wall Street a two-year reprieve through the 2016 presidential election.”

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“The Street has had years of notice to unwind these investments, and it appears that their self-serving complaints have been accepted fairly uncritically without a real analysis for the basis of the claim,” said Dennis Kelleher, president and CEO of Better Markets, a financial reform advocacy group. “If you can’t get out of a trade in seven years, it’s probably not the kind of trade you should be doing.”

“Dodd-Frank included an exemption for particularly illiquid investments that banks could not reasonably sell off in a timely manner. But banks were required to document their troubles in detail to prove that they would, in fact, have trouble exiting their contracts. The Fed’s move Thursday provides a blanket exemption to all bank investments in speculative enterprises.”

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Read the full Huffington Post article by Zach Carter here.

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